Chunky but fabulous, the trend of ugly sneakers (otherwise known as dad sneakers) has taken the streets by storm, and it lures more and more women that inevitably loathe ugly shoes but end up hopelessly loving them. But why are ugly, chunky sneakers so popular? And where did they come from?
Let’s find out more about the trend of dad sneakers for women, since if you haven’t seen them everywhere yet, you might not have gone out of the house at least for a couple of months already. Also get ready to add at least one of our favorite on-trend ugly sneakers for women to your spring wish list!
The Rise of Chunky Ugly Sneakers in Fashion
First things first, what’s an “ugly shoe”? Since the topic is rather subjective and variable depending on the fashion eras and countries, as of 2016 we considered “ugly shoes” all those shoes that feature extra chunky soles, abnormally structured silhouettes, and overall dad-approved motifs and colors (such as ochre and beige, even though the trend has, of course, evolved featuring a great variety of different colors, too). And that’s because, as many will surely point out, ugly shoes are just a more contemporary term for “dad shoes.”
Given their one-of-a-kind silhouettes, ugly shoes are something the Internet categorizes as “unseeable,” as once you lay your eyes on a pair of ugly sneakers, you won’t forget them really fast (whether you liked them or not).
Ugly sneakers rattle us out of our conventionally cute shoe torpor, pushing us out of the comfort zones and giving us something to brag about (at least) on Instagram. To put it simply, ugly sneakers are cool, and there’s nothing we can do about it, especially since more and more creative directors are designing them for their seasonal collections.
Ever since Crocs debuted their sandal version of the ugly shoes, and after a few ugly shoe attempts in the Nineties, many designers have decided to explore the trend here and there, without covering it to the fullest. It was with Vetements, namely the anti-fashion brand par excellence that the ugly sneakers went through a sort of momentum back in 2016, finding their glorious way through many it-girls’ and boys’ Instagram accounts.
As we all know, as soon as Instagram people give their seal of approval to something, the fashion industry acts quickly reinventing it, often kick-starting new projects and promising labels (or, in this case, making otherwise deemed-as-old footwear labels, such as Fila, trendy again). That’s exactly the case of ugly sneakers, which began spreading all over the runway shows as soon as the Fashion Week spring 2017 season began. Everyone, even unexpected fashion houses, such as Prada, began venturing out into the world of chunky dad sneakers, ultimately giving their best with their spring 2018 footwear collections.
Along with pointy-toe mules, women’s ugly sneakers are one of the hottest trends of the moment, and we are sure will keep on rocking the streets in the fashion seasons to come, too.
Tips for Wearing Ugly Sneakers in Style
Unless you are someone who loves to collect shoes or are just part of the subcultural anti-fashion movement, you’ll very likely find ugly sneakers hard to combine with your outfits. However, given the exaggerated structures of ugly sneakers, they are actually the easiest to style, as they drag all the attention without trying too hard. If you are still unsure about their wearability, here are a few style tips and tricks on wearing ugly sneakers in style!
Pair Your Ugly Sneakers with Skirts
Since dad sneakers are very chunky and heavy, you could tone their structure down with a lightweight and cute miniskirt, particularly one refined with checked patterns. Both your and the outfit’s overall figure will look balanced and (unconventionally) elegant!
If It’s Cold, Opt for an Oversized Blazer
We get it, spring is not as warm as it was 20 years ago, so we must be prepared for the weather to abruptly change any time. Why not opt for a pair of waterproof ugly sneakers, a slip dress, and an Eighties-inspired blazer? As stated above, your figure will look balanced and gorgeous!
Take What Makes You Comfortable
If you love ugly shoes but not having all eyes on you, opt for monochrome chunky sneakers (preferably black or navy blue) and pair them with a ton-sur-ton outfit (better total-black), so that your ugly sneakers won’t be “too” visible.
Dad Sneakers, Mom Jeans
What’s better than a perfect Nineties-inspired look? Probably a quick travel back in time to the Nineties (maybe just to attend a Nirvana concert and come back)! If you feel such a combination won’t flatter your figure, just complete the outfit with a black figure-hugging top and a long necklace to elongate the figure.
Don’t Wear Your Ugly Sneakers with Too Many Layers of Clothes
Since ugly sneakers are so structured and heavy, it is always a good idea to opt for a minimalist (if not scandi-chic) outfit, composed of clean-cut lines and few items and embellishments in general.
Crop Tops Are Your Friend, And So Are Denim Pieces!
Picture this: a black crop top, a pair of vintage jeans and, when it gets cold, a denim jacket. Of course, with everything completed with a pair of ugly sneakers! Could it get any better?
Teddy Coats and Ugly Bombers
You will very likely wear your ugly sneakers during the colder months, too. In the winter scenario, you’ll just have to complete the outfits either with a teddy jacket, if you prefer more urban-chic outfits, or a bomber jacket if you love suburban looks more.
15 On-Trend Chunky Ugly Sneakers for Women
Confess it now! You are hopelessly in love with ugly sneakers and can’t wait to get the ultimately on-trend pair for you to hit the streets in style! Our top picks of dad sneakers for women are here to inspire your upcoming casual chic and statement-making looks!
1. Balenciaga Triple S Sneakers
Queen of all ugly sneakers for women, Balenciaga is the place to go if you are looking for a slightly (conventionally) cuter version of dad sneakers. Among all Balenciaga sneakers, the Triple S is surely the most requested and acclaimed and flies off the shelves as soon as the label restocks them. Get ready to act and click fast on Mytheresa.com to get them!
2. Rainbow Ugly Sneakers
Of course, whenever Stella McCartney is involved there must be some pops of color here and there! For a more sophisticated version of the so-called dad sneakers, head to Net-a-Porter.com to find Stella McCartney’s Eclypse masterpieces! They’ll look good with basically anything but perfect with a pair of simple black culottes.
3. Reebok Sneaker Craze
If Balenciaga is the Queen, Vetements is the King of ugly sneakers. Designed in collaboration with footwear label Reebok, this pair of dad sneakers is meant to satisfy any logo craving, and will give you something to comfortably walk in for the entire year. Find it in two color options at Net-a-Porter!
4. Raf Simons-Approved Ugly Sneakers
Available for purchase on Mytheresa.com, the Raf Simons x Adidas ugly sneakers combine futurism with wearability, embracing the “ugly shoes” theme to the fullest. Since they are “ugly” indeed, we suggest toying with proportions and contrasts combining them with a cute miniskirt or a lace dress.
5. Raf Simons-Approved Dad Sneakers Part 2
Made of top-notch leather, neoprene, rubber, and PVC, Raf Simons’ dad sneakers for Calvin Klein exemplify the designer’s visions on fashion, the outcomes of which are already leading Calvin Klein to a new fashion era. Long story short, if you are looking for two pieces of history to collect or walk in, these ugly sneakers have got you! Get them at Farfetch.com.
6. Dad’s Ugly Shoes
You know what makes a pair of ugly sneakers even more dad-approved? Yes, I know you got it – ecru-tinted chunky sneakers! Pair them with your camo sweater or safari dress and you’ll look like a million bucks. You can find them on Farfetch.com!
7. The Devil Won’t Probably Wear These Ugly Sneakers
Would Miranda Priestly approve this pair of Prada ugly sneakers? While we will never know it (although I honestly doubt she would), we are 100% sure many of you would love to show off shocking(ly gorgeous) cloudy dad sneakers, which are easily available for purchase at Net-a-Porter.
8. Ganni’s Ugly Sneakers
If you loved Stella McCartney’s touches of color, but would rather prefer a monochrome brush stroke of blue on your ugly sneakers, head to Mytheresa.com to grab this pair of exclusive leather sneakers signed Ganni!
9. Nineties Inspired Ugly Sneakers
Probably not the most contemporary profile on this list, Nike’s Air Max 95 LX women’s sneakers are a timeless it-item anyways. These are the lovely grandmothers of all ugly sneakers for sure, and you can find them at Nordstrom.
10. Bow Sneakers
To keep up with the royalist theme, these MM6 velvet sneakers are probably the ultimate archduchess of all ugly sneakers for women, as they combine little cute touches of bow realness with strong high-street-inspired funkiness. Since they are “contrast-made sneakers,” we bet they’ll overwhelm you with a killer look even if you pair them with random jeans. You can get them at Net-a-Porter.
11. Trek Comet Dad Sneakers
If I had to transpose the concept of happiness to shoes, I would definitely choose Pierre Hardy’s Trek Comet dad sneakers. Colorful, adorably urban, and comfortably chunky, these ugly sneakers are a win-win choice to brighten up your looks! And you can easily get them from Mytheresa.com!
12. Logoed Ugly Sneakers
If Reebok x Vetements logos look too imperceptible, MSGM’s high-top sneakers will be the right match for you! Available on Farfetch.com, these ugly sneakers take the logo craze to a whole new level, for sure!
13. Race Runner Sneakers
While most of the women’s ugly sneakers on this list lean more towards fashion than practicality (despite all being extremely cozy and wearable), it is with Balenciaga’s Race Runner sneakers that we find ugly shoes that are 70% comfortable and just 30% fashionable. These will help your feet feel good all day long, indeed. Wear them with a casual spring suit and just rock them 24/7! You can find them on Matchesfashion.com.
14. Anatomically Perfect Ugly Sneakers
Although delivering shoes only since 2009, Leather Crown is a master at shoe designing. This pair of Waero velour sneakers from Leather Crown combines anatomical foot beds with unique finishing treatments that make each shoe literally unique, helping you support your posture and ego. You can find them at Farfetch.com!
15. Are These the Most Coveted Ugly Sneakers Ever?
Last but not least, here’s the pair of ugly sneakers everyone seems to covet on Instagram, i.e. Balenciaga’s Speed logo high top sneakers! Copied by every fast fashion brand (sometimes even by high-end labels) and coveted by any influencer on earth, these dad sneakers are a must-have item for any shoe collector! You can find them at Net-a-Porter.com.
Photos via @black_palms, @aylin_koenig, @vikyandthekid, @lornaluxe, @songofstyle